Citigroup

According to Dick Parsons, who stepped down as chairman of Citi in March because Mike Mayo told him to, last week’s news that Pandit had left the building for good was “somewhat” surprising, though, if you really think about it, not so surprising, as whipping morbidly obese companies into shape just really isn’t Vikram’s thing. Even he’ll tell you that.

“You need seasoned, honed managers who can cause a 250,000, 300,000-personnel organization to march” with direction, Parsons said in a weekend interview at his Tuscan vineyard in Montalcino, Italy. “Vikram will tell you, ‘That’s not my bag.’” Pandit, 55, produced “every good idea that we had” to prevent Citigroup’s collapse during the financial crisis, Parsons said. New CEO Michael Corbat, 52, who previously ran the Citi Holdings unit, is well-equipped to lead the firm as it cuts costs and sells unwanted assets, the ex-chairman said. “Mike Corbat, who I knew back in the day when he ran the Holdings operation, is just that kind of man,” said Parsons, 64, adding that he was “somewhat” surprised by the timing of Pandit’s exit. “The transition and change was, in the long term, not inevitable but appropriate.”

Anyway, who wants wine? Read more »

Long-time Citi critic Mike Mayo is jumping on the Citi bandwagon. The CLSA analyst upgraded Citi to outperform from underperform this morning saying the ousting of Vikram Pandit “seems to reflect a more proactive board and can improve poor governance.” Pandit resigned abruptly and has now been replaced by Michael Corbat. “We are taking Citigroup stock for a test drive,” Mayo says. Mayo says he expects a new three-year plan from Citigroup by March and places his bet that Chairman Michael O’Neill would have a role in shaping that plan and restructuring the bank based on his prior successes. [Deal Journal, related]

  • 17 Oct 2012 at 2:24 PM

Bonus Watch ’12: Retired Citigroup CEOs

Uncle Vik may or may not be receiving a little something extra for his trouble, depending on how generous Citi is feeling. Read more »

  • 16 Oct 2012 at 3:57 PM

Meredith Whitney: Citigroup Should Just Give Up

Earlier today, we wondered if, in light of the news that Vikram Pandit had resigned as CEO of Citigroup, analyst Meredith Whitney’s opinion of the bank had changed. Choice comments that Whitney has made about the Big C in the past have included: “Citigroup is in such a mess Stephen Hawking couldn’t turn this company around“; “Citi is like an old broken-down Victorian house“; and Citi “has no earnings power, isn’t going to grow, hasn’t been investable in four years.” She also once told Maria Bartiromo that the only way she’d change her mind about company would be if she received “a new brain.” Still, sometimes analysts change their tune when new blood is brought in and, like former FDIC chair Sheila Bair, perhaps some of her beef with the bank had been a personal dislike of Uncle V. Now that he’s gone, is she seeing Citigroup in a new light? Read more »

Point: “This was decided yesterday afternoon. I made the decision. I talked to [Citigroup Chairman] Mr. O’Neill. I don’t believe in having lame-duck sessions, in having the outgoing CEO looking over the shoulder of the incoming CEO.” Counterpoint: “Citigroup directors ousted Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit after concluding that he had mismanaged operations, leading to setbacks with regulators and a loss of credibility with investors, a person with knowledge of the discussions said.”

As you may have heard, earlier today, Citigroup announced that CEO Vikram Pandit would be resigning from his post at the bank, effective immediately, along with several longtime lieutenants. While the news came as a shock to Wall Street, it was assumed that on the inside, employees had been given some advanced warning and time to get used to the idea of life without Uncle Vik. That they weren’t just realizing now those hugs on the elevator Monday had been their last. That he’d stashed something away for them to remember him by. (A one dollar bill with this face on it. A glossy 8X10 photo to keep on their desks. SOMETHING.) That he hadn’t just left in the middle of the night. Unfortunately for those who’ve grown quite attached to Vickles since he took the reigns in 2007, however, that’s exactly what happened.

The news of Mr. Pandit’s departure after five years atop the company came as a shock to Citigroup employees, including senior executives. In the firm’s London office, some executives emerged from a meeting and read the news on their computers and Bloomberg terminals, well before the bank’s internal memo was released. Soon a dozen employees were crowded in front of television monitors, following the story on financial business shows. Others were seen around a water cooler on the trading floor, discussing the news. Still others retreated to their desks to parse Citigroup’s recent earnings release, looking for hints of internal conflict. “There’s shock,” said a Citigroup executive based in New York. “Even senior people were surprised.”

And although early reports suggested that Count Vikula had simply decided that Citigroup had come so far since he’d taken the gig five years ago that his work was done, and that while it was time to move onto the next stage of his life, he’d cherish the memories and the people he met at Citi, it now sounds like the split was a bit more acrimonious than that. Read more »

Sheila Bair, who served as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp during the crisis and its aftermath, levelled fresh attacks at Mr Geithner, the Obama administration, fellow financial regulators and bankers such as Vikram Pandit, Citi’s chief executive, in a new book that has laid bare policy disagreements of the past few years…Ms Bair criticises Mr Pandit for a lack of commercial banking experience and says she tried to force him out. Ms Bair was “pushing hard” for Jerry Grundhofer, former chief executive of US Bancorp, to replace Mr Pandit. Citi’s board “could have done so much better than Pandit,”  Ms Bair wrote…Taxpayers were unnecessarily put at risk and Citi, despite its weakness at the time, was allowed to avert nationalisation, a forced reorganisation or meaningful restrictions on its activities, Ms Bair alleges. “The public justifiably wanted retribution. Citi should have been led to the pillory,” Ms Bair writes. [FT via Heidi Moore]